FUE, or follicular unit extraction, is an ever-growing hair transplant method. It is not only gaining popularity, but also seems to be constantly developing in technology to improve surgical hair restoration capabilities overall. By nature, its individual follicle extraction was an improvement from other methods in invasiveness, recovery time, scarring, and hairline design. Of course, FUE has also seen somewhat of a tools race—the development of various extraction tools to get the job done as quickly, safely, and efficiently as humanly (or robotically) possible.
However, many of these new FUE machines are not yet advanced enough for the most advanced niche of FUE—body hair transplant (BHT). In recent years, follicular unit extraction paved the way for the development of BHT, a hair restoration technique that expands the donor supply to include almost all hair on the body. This advanced method still requires the use of a handheld tool.
Different FUE Machines
All FUE machines work on a punching mechanism, anywhere from .8mm to 1.2mm in diameter. Classic tools are handheld and rely on the steady, trained hands of a skilled surgeon. Handheld tools can be manual, with a rotary punch, or electrically powered. This is the only type of FUE machine currently available for use in body hair transplant. uGraft is one example of such a tool.
Other tools growing in popularity and use include ARTAS and NeoGraft. These FUE machines are both largely mechanized, with ARTAS being entirely robotic.
These systems can only be used on the scalp. At the moment, they are not yet ready for the extremely advanced nature of body hair transplant, since they are unable to extract hair outside the traditional donor zone.
Why Handheld FUE Machines Are Ideal for Body Hair Transplant
BHT enables the use of hair from the nape of the neck, beard, shoulders, chest, stomach, arms, and legs. Surgeons using handheld FUE machines like uGraft are able to navigate these areas with minimal invasiveness and minimal scarring. In addition, with body hair follicles often being more curved in nature than scalp hair, keeping each graft in tact necessitates the eye and precision of a human hand.